We could all use some fresher, healthier snacks, and cooking ingredients, but when getting to the farmers market isn’t an option, what’s a mom to do? Start an indoor garden, of course.
No matter the weather in your neck of the woods or the amount of yard space you have to work with, you can still enjoy gardening. We’re not talking just a half-dead succulent in your windowsill, either. You can grow actual vegetables, herbs and fruits to use in your kitchen, without setting foot outside.
All it takes is minimal supplies that you can purchase at your local big box home improvement store or via online retailers like Amazon.
Not sure where to start? Here’s your guide to getting your indoor garden growing.
Step 1: Find Your Space
The first thing you’re going to need to do is to find your space. Where in your home can you set up an indoor garden?
You’ll want a spot with plenty of light and that’s out of the way. You don’t want the kids knocking your gardening project to the ground, or the cat or dog getting into the potting soil.
Think of a sturdy table or shelf next to or near a window. If you don’t have enough natural light in your home to work with, you can always purchase a grow lamp that will make up for the fact.
You’ll also want to ensure your plants stay warm. Most plants grow best around the 70-degree mark, so just avoid any air vents or drafty doorways that might impact the temperature.
Step 2: Purchase Your Supplies
Once you have a spot picked to start your indoor garden, it’s time to pick your supplies.
You’ll need a growing medium, but don’t just grab some dirt from your yard. Organic potting mix will work fine.
Then, you’ll want to consider the vessels you use for your indoor garden. Any planting container or pot will work. Just make sure that, if you’re getting creative and using a non-traditional container, you ensure it provides proper drainage.
Again, since you don’t want your plants to fall prey to the hijinks of kids or pets, go with planting containers that are sturdy. You may also want to look for containers that won’t break if they’re accidentally knocked from a table or shelf.
Step 3: Pick Your Plants
Now it’s time for the most exciting part — picking your plants. There are tons of options to choose from, but you may want to look for plants that have similar sunlight and watering needs (to make your overall job easier).
Vegetables that grow well indoors include:
- Leafy greens (including lettuce, kale, chard, spinach and microgreens)
- Tomatoes (opt for cherry tomatoes for easier indoor plant maintenance)
You could potentially grow everything you need to put together a farm-fresh, tasty salad all without leaving the house!
If you’re interested in growing herbs indoors, some popular, easy options include:
One of the hands-down, easiest fruits to grow indoors is strawberries. It is possible to grow dwarf apple and citrus trees indoors, but if you’re a beginner indoor gardener, start with the strawberries.
All these plants can be purchased from a wide array of online vendors if you don’t want to leave the house. From Amazon to Etsy, you won’t have an issue finding some plants within your budget.
Just remember — buying plants online and having them shipped to your house can sometimes result in stressed plants. For the healthiest plants possible, it’s always advised you go to a local greenhouse.
Step 4: Get Planting!
The planting process can get a little messy, but that’s part of what makes it fun. Involve the entire family!
Layout a tarp or some trash bags on the kitchen floor and invite dad and the kids to help you carefully deposit each plant into its new home. Maybe give the plants some names. Maybe designate one or two plants to your kids’ care, so they can learn the responsibility of growing, watering and tending to a living thing (and then reap the sweet rewards of their labor in a few weeks or months!).
Step 5: Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance
Unfortunately for any super-busy moms out there, indoor gardening isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of project. However, that doesn’t mean indoor gardening has to be necessarily difficult. All it takes is a few minutes of your day, each day.
Sometimes maintenance is as simple as just checking in on your plants. Give them a thorough look. Do the leaves look dry or brown? Is the soil dry or moist?
Close daily observation will make it easy for you to give your plants what they need when they need it, whether it’s just a little extra water (or a little less), some extra growing space, or more sunlight.
Ready to Get Started?
Starting your own indoor garden isn’t as big of a project as it seems. Any mom can take it on, involve the kids (or don’t), and then enjoy fresher, home-grown ingredients. Whether you want to chow down on summer tomatoes straight from the vine or you want to add your own herb blend to your next pasta dish, that fresh produce is just a few steps away.
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